WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 9, 2014) – Rutgers gymnastics returned to winning ways by recording its highest vault score in program history on the way to a first-place 194.500 mark Sunday at Charles E. Smith Center. William & Mary (194.375) finished second in the tri-meet, followed by George Washington (193.300). The previous vault record (49.100) had been set on March 8, 2013.
RU improved to 8-1 on the season and 3-0 in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) with the victories.
“I thought the depth of the team was on display today, especially with vault,” head coach Louis Levine said. “The lineup was a bit different, but everyone really stepped up to set the school record. We have a lot of potential in this event.”
Senior Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) notched a career-best 39.350 all-around score to lead the Scarlet Knights, finishing first in the meet. Gunzelman recorded at least a 9.800 in each event, earning a top-two finish on three. It was the fourth-straight meet the senior posted a score over 39.000.
“Alexis has been very consistent the last couple weeks and took a step up today,” Levine said. “This is the type of performance she is capable of as an experienced competitor.”
Rutgers opened the meet on balance beam, registering a team score of 47.925. Gunzelman matched her career-high score of 9.850, placing first in the event. Sophomore Claudia Salinas (Allendale, N.J.) made her season debut with a score of 9.625, while seniors Jenna Zito (Rockaway, N.J.) and Alyssa Straub (Nazareth, Pa.) each had a 9.650.
Next on floor, Gunzelman continued her momentum by posting a 9.800 to notch a second place finish. Freshman Charly Santagado (Celebration, Fla.) recorded a career-high 9.775 to tie for third. The team registered a 48.550 in the event.
The Scarlet Knights registered a program-best 49.200 on vault. Freshman Claire Jones (Gaffney, S.C.) led RU in its record-breaking performance with a career-best 9.900, finishing the meet tied for third. Sophomore Nicolette Wilson (Toms River, N.J.) posted a career high of her own by recording a 9.825. In her season debut in the event, Straub tied her career-best at 9.875 to help push the team into the record book.
Wrapping up the meet on uneven bars, Gunzelman paced the team with a meet-high 9.875. Santagado tied for third in the event with a career-best 9.825. RU secured the win with a bars score of 48.825.
“We had a great meet today,” Levine said. “The team never gave up after a slow start and really finished strong. It was a nice bounce-back day, as we want to continue to improve every time out.”
Rutgers will next travel to Philadelphia to face Penn on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. It will mark the team’s third consecutive weekend on the road.